KOCHI: Imagine this. Rick Sanchez from popular American adult animated science fiction sitcom Rick and Morty, ends up in Kerala! In digital artist Joji Joseph’s head, this idea took an interesting turn. He visualised Rick picking a lottery ticket, and the duo riding a ‘Rick-shaw’, with corporation garbage bins for propellers. On the backseat, you can see the classic warning sign outside every tea shop in Kerala — ‘don’t spit here’.
Played out to a sample from Suraj Venjaramood-starrer Chattambinadu, and Kochi-based hip-hop producer Kalla Sha’s Straight outta Kerala featuring VKDV and Vaidhyan, the concoction is a hilarious mix of multiple sub-cultures. “I’ve been catching up with the trends too. There is plenty of quality content coming out of the south these days, and I am doing my own experiments with it,” says Joji, who works in the design department of a Bengaluru-based company.
Born and raised in Kottayam, in a family of artists, Fine Arts was his first affection. But it is his self-explored style and concepts that have kept him going — from movie posters to surreal frames, animation, and what not! The use of bold, contrasting colours is one of the first things you will notice about his art, apart from fresh concepts — like a self-conscious Frida Kahlo with a shaving blade, or ‘Wifi life’, where a young boy is seen fretting about how all he wants is a WiFi hotspot! The ‘will you be my quarantine’, a colourised interpretation of a Ravi Varma painting where the pre-colonial romance is rendered through masked faces, is much up Joji’s alley of subtle satire and aesthetics too. He has also worked on the album art of music videos and movie posters.
“Though I always used to be interested in art, it is after moving to Bengaluru, that I felt like doing something of my own. The sort of exposure you get here, where everyone has a style of their own, inspired me to create my own,” he says. Through his Instagram alter-ego @bob_krustykrab, he plans to do more aesthetic content that is relatable to those like him, revelling in a mix of subcultures riding the Southside.